Our online searches* reveal just how much COVID-19 has changed our lives. A few months ago, the top “how to” question we asked Google was “how to delete an Instagram account.” Today it’s “how to prepare for a second wave of coronavirus.” From home baking to life insurance , we pick some of the most interesting search trends of the pandemic.

New trends and new looks

The pandemic sparked a series of high-volume search trends, like “how to make a face mask.” Some search trends were big but brief, such as “school districts closing,” as quarantine orders came into effect; in March, “telemedicine” shot up 150 percent in one week, and “working from home” rose 96 percent in 10 days. But COVID-19 also accelerated existing trends, like grocery delivery services, which was on the increase, and is now near-essential.

While grocery stores have stayed open during the pandemic, many businesses have been shuttered, so we’ve had to search for how to do things ourselves. “Home haircuts,” especially for men, have been a big trend, although many of us will be hoping it’ll soon be safe to go back to the barber.  

Keeping fit and keeping busy

As gyms have been closed, we’ve switched to fresh-air fitness and keeping toned at home. General “physical fitness” searches rose 1,150 percent over the three-month period of April to June 2020, with cycling the most popular sport, and dumbbells and barbells flying off the shelves for home workouts.

With many of us not just working from home but also locked down with children, we’ve been looking for help keeping boredom at bay. “What can I do with my kids today?” has been parents’ biggest plea to Google. Searches also rose for “indoor hobbies,” “indoor games,” “puzzles” and “coloring books,” while the simple, desperate search for “bored” also trended in March. 

Baking, gifting and helping

The most-asked “how-to” questions reveal that one of the most popular at-home activities has been baking. We’ve asked “how to make sourdough and banana bread,” but also “how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie” (it depends whether you like them crispy or chewy!), and “how to make high-rising biscuits” (Google says: “choose the right cutter!”).

We’ve swapped shopping malls for shopping online, but not just for ourselves—we’re searching for new ways to give birthday gifts, such as subscriptions and delivered gift boxes. As well as saying Happy Birthday, we’ve been asking “how to say thank you,” most of all to bus drivers and first responders—and we’ve wanted to know how to make “Thank You” signs. Encouringly, more than ever, we’re searching “how to help” and “how to volunteer.”

Protecting our futures

Amidst economic uncertainty and health and well-being worries, COVID-19 has made us more focused than ever on our personal finances. Government announcements caused sudden search spikes for “second stimulus package for individuals” and “Senate PPP extension,” while searches for “personal money management” doubled.

Personal finance-related searches reveal concerns, especially about retirement savings, the most-asked question being “how long will my savings last?"

Protecting our family—their finances, and their well-being—is always a priority, but the COVID-19 outbreak saw an increase in life insurance searches too. Perhaps there was a sudden realization that long life cannot be taken for granted. Whatever the reason, life insurance is the safe foundation of a protection-first financial strategy. It’s vital that the coverage you have is adequate for any change in circumstances.

Here at New York Life, we might not be able to tell you when restaurants in your district will safely re-open, or how to host the best virtual happy hour in town, but if you’re searching for help with life insurance, we’re here to help you—contact us today. 


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Media contact
Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-6955
Kevin_B_Maher@newyorklife.com

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*Search volume data sourced from Google Trends, Think With Google and Exploding Topics.